Office of Business Opportunity

OBO Press Release

Food Service Industry Forum Provides Links to Business, Financial Resources

June 11, 2021 -- The Office of Business Opportunity (OBO) and Common Cookery invite the community to the Food Business Operations, Marketing and Financial Resources Forum held virtually from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15. The event is free, and registration is required at: Following the virtual event, an in-person meet and greet will take place from 5-7 p.m. at Ebony Food and Music, 11684 Westheimer.

This forum brings together industry experts to educate and connect participants with key resources and information regarding digital marketing, finances and funding, as well as operations, trends and logistics. The event will close with a networking session. Business owners in the restaurant industry seeking to build resilience strategies, as well as those looking to start a new business, are encouraged to attend.

The forum’s agenda features the following sessions and special guests:

  • Session I: Digital Marketing & Social Media
    • Catherine & Anthony Vu: @eatingwithcatherine & @theeatingant
  • Session II: Finance and Financial Resources Panel Discussion
    • Cost Controls: Arlene D. Ramirez, University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College
    • Crowdfunding/Flexible Financing: Jovan Vojvodic, NextSeed
    • Financial Initiatives & Resources: Robert Hines, Chase Bank
    • Funding & Resources: Abby Gonzalez, U.S. Small Business Administration Houston District Office
  • Session III: Restaurant Operations, Resources, Trends & Logistics
    • Restaurant Operations: Fred Gordon, Gordon Restaurant Consulting
    • Recovery Resources: Nini Gutierrez, BakerRipley
    • Trends & Logistics: Moses Iku, Common Cookery
  • Networking:
    • Collaboration vs. Competition: Importance of Working with Other Food Entrepreneurs: Dr. Scott Taylor, Jr. University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College
    • Professional Association: Melissa Stewart, Greater Houston Restaurant Association

“OBO has received an unprecedented number of inquiries from residents wanting to start a restaurant, food truck, cart, or catering business even after the adverse impacts of the pandemic,” said OBO Director Marsha E. Murray. “We invite entrepreneurs in the food service industry to attend this forum to gain access to valuable resources and education no matter what stage they are in starting or operating their business.”

For more information about the Food Business Operations, Marketing and Financial Resources Forum, contact Dr. Porscha Jackson at

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About the Office of Business Opportunity: The City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity (OBO) is committed to cultivating a competitive and diverse economic environment in the City of Houston by promoting the success of small businesses and developing Houston’s workforce, with special emphasis on historically underutilized businesses and disenfranchised individuals. OBO’s key objectives are to educate, connect and grow small businesses in Houston.

About Common Cookery: Common Cookery is a small business incubator and food delivery service that partners with independent food creatives to share global cuisine with customers and celebrates diversity in flavor by showcasing the harmony of cross-cultural cuisines. Common Cookery also unites independent chefs and food creatives to deliver a global dining experience to doorsteps through scheduled deliveries to the entire Houston Metro Area and surrounding suburbs. Through the Common Cookery online platform, customers can order heat n’ serve meals, snacks and desserts from local small businesses.